Byrdcall Studio, LLC

Rya Rug Revival
and Creative Arts
by Melinda Byrd
Newsletter of September-October 2022
Note: Sometimes newsletters will "abbreviate" at the half-way point and a message will appear to "click to see the remaining message." If you don't notice it, you might miss some pretty cool stuff, so be sure to read (or scroll) to the end. You'll see goldenrod flowers.
Rya Classes Gearing Up
It isn't often that I can report that there are classes in rya rug making taking place here and there. So this is a first. It won't cover all of your needs, but for some of you, you can plan on a class this Fall! Many of you are weavers who weave your own ryas. You know the art, you probably have my book, so why not consider teaching a class in YOUR community? All the rya "secrets" are in the book, so if you are passionate about rya rugs, consider teaching.

If you live near a weaving studio or a mill, ask them about weaving rya backings. Keep it true to the Nordic tradition and the quality, heirloom rya rugs will continue to be made.

If you make me aware of your classes, I will try to keep my newsletter readers up-to-date.
Rya Designing and Knotting at Byrdcall Studio, Woodbine, MD
Sat. & Sunday, Nov. 5-6, 2022
In the last newsletter I took a poll of who wanted weekends or weekdays. It was very close, so this time we have a weekend class--next time week days.

In a small group setting surrounded by rya supplies, books, and designs learn all about designing and making your own.

Rya Rug Stitching Workshop with Gretchen Romey-Tanzer
Saturday, October 29, 2022 10 - Noon
at the Falmouth Art Center on Cape Cod
When there is a backing shortage, why not weave your own? That is what Gretchen is doing at her weaving studio Tanzer's Fiberworks in Brewster, MA. Feel free to contact her for more information. Get started with knotting a small backing piece in this 2-hour class.

Rya Class at the Give Rise Studio in Frederick, MD
Oct. 16th 1- 4:00
Rebecca is a very talented multi-rug-technique-maker. Her diversity in rug styles and techniques makes her a great teacher to expose you to creative rya rug making.

Join Rebecca Hargreaves, local textile artist and rug creator, to learn the art of Scandinavian Rya Rug Making! Learn about backing fabrics, yarn, knots, color blending and where to purchase more supplies. You will leave with all the supplies to continue working on your project. *Please come with a simple graphic drawing that can be translated onto the fabric. Colors to be provided are varying shades of yellows, greens, and birch bark, so keep those colors in mind when creating your design.

Rya Sewing Circles
at Byrdcall Studio
We low-keyed the Sept.10th Rya Sewing Circle day because my work tables were covered in vintage rya yarn that needed twisting into skeins, photographing, and inventorying. I wasn't sure I'd have space for people until about a week before the scheduled Sewing Circle day.

I will be taking some time off in October and will be getting the studio ready for the Nov. 5-6 class, so no more Rya Sewing Circles until they are announced in the next newsletter. But I would like to gather the email addresses of everyone who would like to be invited when the next one is scheduled. 95% of you are not within an hour's drive from me. I'd love to invite anyone who might want to come to knot with others--don't want to miss anyone.
Marie has been working hard to keep her colors very subtly blended. Stay tuned to see how things look once she gets to the water, lighthouse, and sky. I can't wait.
Look closely at Marie's graph and threading card. Take a look at the threading card she made to guide herself through a very gentle transition for the bottom of her lighthouse design.
Rae shows a couple of pillow size ryas she had done in the recent past. They are Swedish kits by CUM Rya designs from the mid century modern days. That company is no longer in existence.
As Rae was starting to insert some knots between already-knotted rows, I quipped that she would need a third hand to hold the upper pile out of her way. She said, "No, all I need is a couple of bobby pins." So I pulled a couple from my bun, and she showed me something I had never seen before!
Supplies from Heaven
A Wonderful Assortment of Vintage Swedish Yarns Arrives . . .
I never know when new OLD supplies will arrive in the studio. Sometimes I get a call or email asking if I have any use for rya rug yarn.
I do.
I will take all offered quality wool rya rug yarn as long as it hasn't had cats in it (some people are very sensitive to cat hair nor having smokers around the yarn). Sometimes people offer to send me their leftovers from a single rya project. Great! Often an elder relative waiting for "free time" to start another rya project leaves a closet full of vintage rya supplies. Not everyone knows what to do with rya supplies, so sadly a rya stash could go to trash haulers.

Sometimes people contact me and offer to sell me nice rya supplies. I will buy them if the price is reasonable. I usually offer to pay the shipping fee on supplies to people who are just looking for a good home for the rya stash. I appreciate them very much. I have an "alert" set on my eBay account which informs me when rya rug yarn is up for auction. If the price doesn't go too high, sometimes I am lucky there. All the vintage rya yarn I have I offer at the same price regardless of what company produced them: Bergå, Nordiskas, Lundgren, Marks, Borgs, and Mattkonst Grunnebo . . . $10/skein. It can be used interchangeably with my new Rauma yarns to save a little money.

At the end of July, a woman named Jennifer contacted me via my website. She had googled "rya rug supplies." She and her siblings were clearing out their parents' house in Maine which contained "a ton of rya supplies." We had arranged a delivery to Bethesda, MD (about an hour away from my studio), but at the last minute the delivery option fell through. She was very disappointed, when she emailed me to tell me. But (miracle) I just happened to be taking a little vacation with my husband in Maine and was just an hour north of her parents' house which was just about empty and had to be totally emptied by the end of the next day. So my little Prius (another miracle) was able to hold all of the bags and boxes of yarn, backings with fringe, some partially made kits, and all of the graphs of designs made by Jennifer's father over the years--most of which I had never seen before. They were thankful that I could help them out, and I was thankful to be able to keep them in circulation. I asked the family to suggest a suitable nonprofit to which I could make a contribution. They chose the Maine Community Foundation which to me, was PERFECT. With my contribution, I requested, if possible, to apply the funds towards projects that helped to keep traditional arts alive in Maine.

I have arranged the yarn by general color arrays layed out in three rows: top, middle and bottom. Most of the yarn has no tags on it, so I don't know color numbers for most. Rya designers can look at these grouping as squirts of paint on a pallette. If you are in a blending mood, you can ask me to gather the "right side of the middle row in the Red-Yellows Array photo, for example. I will gather that grouping and shoot a photo for you to see more closely and price it either by the skein, or by weight if there are cut skeins involved--and there are lots of cut skeins. It is a great opportunity to increase your color selections within your own yarn stashes. Once you like what you see, tell me to send it, and I'll send you an online invoice and get your order right off to you.

I will not list it on Etsy yet. I want to give YOU first dibs.
FYI: The black is now gone.
The blues are now gone.

And there is more I will be adding later, once I work out some details . . .
"If you weave it, they will come."
Weavers are starting to realize that off-loom rya rug makers really do need a woven backing. Where there is a demand, there are those who will respond. In the past couple of months, two weaving studios have "stepped up" to the challenge. I hope more weavers will start weaving backings to help meet the need.

Still in the developmental stages, Claudia Spaulding from the Hartford Artisans Weaving Center is working on prototypes for rya backings which may soon be available for purchase. (See photo above.) Not ready to take orders yet, but they are working on perfecting the weave--and they are looking good. Very exciting to see such progress.

Tanzer's Fiberworks Gretchen Romey-Tanzer is teaching a rya class as you may recall from one article up. She also is willing to weave a backing for you if you can't find the size you want. She shares, "I have started weaving rya rug backings suitable for floor rugs, bench rugs and chair pads. It is woven with linen warp and wool weft in the Norwegian style of rya rug backings. I will be charging $25.00. per square foot for the backing material. Custom sizes can be produced to order, (up to 45″ wide and as long as you like). Currently I am weaving smaller backings for customers to try out, (12″ x 24″ and 12″ x 12″). Contact me for special orders, 508-221-3992."
Rya Show & Tell
(Thank you for sharing your photos!)
Kathy Smayda
Seattle, Washington
I love stories like this--and they are quite common. All Kathy needed was just a few skeins to complete her rya. I asked her for the details of this gorgeous rya.

"Hi Melinda,

Here are the details:

Rauma Ryemonster nr. 321/80, in blue tones
by Else Pousson
80 x 150 cm

This kit was purchased at Husfliden in Bergen, Norway, in 1987. My husband had a guest research position in Bergen for a year and we bought this kit to while away the long winter's eves. He was experienced with rya, as his mother is a renowned fiber artist, primarily weaving (Norma Smayda,

We got busy with skiing, work, and the birth of our first child halfway through our stay, and the project, about 1/5 complete, was put on hold for 30-some years. I decided to finish it up as a late Covid project--one row a night while I watched (listened) to Trevor Noah's The Daily Show. With the help of your yarn supplies, I was able to finish it up this spring, only 35 years later!

Brenda Barton
Van, Texas
Brenda is an avid maker of rya rugs and hooked rugs, like many of you I know.

This rya is named Isbre which translate as "glacier."
The designer is T.Kosonen-Buvik. The kit is a Rauma kit.
31" x 59 (80 x 150 cm)
Beautiful work.

She shared this in the Rya Rugs Friends Group and received dozens of glowing comments.
Elizabeth, Colorado
I'm all about stories, so when Kirsi sent me this, I knew I had to share it with you. It makes a beautiful rya all the more special.

"I sewed this Southwestern inspired Finnish ryijy (rya) rug to honor my two home countries. I grew up in Finland but moved to the US to attend graduate school. I have lived most of my adult life in Colorado.
I have been dyeing alpaca and Paco Vicuna (alpaca and Vicuna mix) yarns from my own animals for over 20 years, using plants from my dye gardens and surrounding areas, and mushrooms from Finland.

I wanted to display the natural colors and naturally dyed yarns without blending. Also, I didn't want an old fashioned symmetrical rug, neither a modern abstract rug. My design is somewhere in between. Each color is marked with a tag on side, to explain the origin of the color.

This rug is 41" x 57", 100% alpaca, sewn on Taito Pirkanmaa backing and it has three strands in each of 15,008 knots .
The name of the rug is "The Four Seasons of My Life." The top stripe (feathers) is Spring, when I lived in Finland, traveled extensively and eventually immigrated to the US. The second stripe is Summer (flowers) when I was busy with family, jobs, travels and started my hobbies of gardening and fiber arts. I eventually moved to a ranch and acquired farm animals. The third stripe is Fall (corn stalk) when I retired and started gardening full time and added heritage grain trials to my farm, hence graduating from a gardener to a farmer.

The last squiggly stripe on the bottom is Winter, which I still hope to experience. I designed a modified Native American Spirit Line on the lower right, as a pathway out from my Winter.
I find rya rugs and pillows as perfect ways to use small quantities of dyed yarn
Closing Comments
And once again,
Thanks for reading all the way to the end.
You all make my mission and work so rewarding. Thank you for your kind correspondence and friendship.

More than any other newsletter, last month, more readers told me how much they loved my garden photos than ever before, sooooo, here are some more.
This October, I will be taking off some time to spend vacation time with my family. Let me know if you need something right away, or else it might arrive a little later than you wish.

Keep on keeping on. If you have not already joined the Rya Rug Friends Facebook Group in the Byrdcall Studio page, I welcome you to. Fascinating exchanges of ideas, successes, and challenges take place daily.
Many thanks for your valuable time with me .
Knot on!
A Couple of Links that Might Come in Handy
A couple of links here that I know are enjoyed by many of you. Special "Shout out" to the Rya Rugs Friends on Facebook. The Group always welcomes new members.

Direct Link for Book Purchase
Whether you have been waiting for this book for years or if you are just discovering at this moment that it exists, no reason to hold off on treating yourself! The reviews have been excellent. It is now available in either hardbound or soft bound cover. Click on the cover image to learn more.
Price: $ 49 Hardbound
Price: $ 39 Softbound
S & H: $ 5.00
6% MD State tax for instate purchases only

Do you know anyone who would enjoy this book? I would so appreciate your support of sharing my book with anyone who might enjoy it. If you know a shop that might like to carry a few books, I sell wholesale. If you know someone who is bored due to not going out during the pandemic, they could design their own rya or get a kit. Share with anyone who might appreciate the boost. Thank you.
c/o Melinda Purcell Byrd, Owner
P.O. Box 162
Woodbine, MD 21797